Dowry deaths are a phenomena that occur with regularity in our country in families that are poor or effluent, educated or uneducated.
As long as there is greed that is fed by the “self imposed helplessness” of the girls parents one can see no signs of this monstrous custom called dowry becoming less frequent.
Come to think of it, one wonders how can parents, brothers and sisters of the dowry victim can be absolved of shirking their bounden duty of saving the girl’s life when they know she has been suffering for long who then either commit suicide or is tortured to death in a diabolical household.
Especially in cases where the innocent girl tearfully entreats her father for years to give her emotional support and practical help and he fails to offer it apprehensive of societal pressure the members of her maternal family stand morally accused.
Giving the daughter high education is no doubt praiseworthy. But the responsibility of the parents does not end as when they say proudly “we have married her off, now we can breathe easy free from any worry about her future”. This ideally should not be the case. They should make sure that she is in the right place where there is no dowry harassment, domestic violence and round the clock slavery.
The most disturbing case of Neha Rastogi, a fully accomplished woman of today is a stark example of how a daughter due to the so called “Indian conditioning” waited years before taking the decision to divorce her sociopath husband.
At the first sign of dowry harassment reported by the daughter, the father should immediately take steps to nip it in the bud. And if the situation goes of control, without giving a damn to the society, proceedings for divorce should be undertaken.
Sangeeta Verma, a highly qualified school teacher, with a M. Sc. B.Ed from Ghaziabad, who was thrown acid on by her averashious husband, sustained 90% burns, blamed her own father to whom she was apparently complaining for15 years. Had he responded to her pleas, this tragedy could have been averted.
There are ofcourse instances where the suffering girl herself keeps her parents in the dark about her misery as she sensitively feels that their peace should not be disturbed in their old age.
But the parents should from the beginning be vigilant enough trying to find out how things have been working out in her relation with her husband and her in-laws in a joint family.
Shedding buckets full of tears and banging their heads against the wall with sorrow and guilt after the tragic event, in no where lessens the magnitude of their act of omission in a matter of life and death.
How ghastly the torturing for dowry can be, years ago in Bombay, I witnessed as a young girl, in a flat facing ours. A hulk of a man standing in the balcony threw his young pregnant wife to the floor and started kicking and stamping on her body while his mother stood still by him watching the torture with suppressed glee. The toddler, their child, was watching this act with a very frightened look. This was all in full view of the neighbours who did nothing to save the situation.
A few days later the accursed girl bid goodbye to this world. The cause of her death being stated by the family as ” getting burnt while cooking on the stove”.
Not very long afterwards, the man got another wife to the shock of everyone.
I was a young girl then. I am touching 80 years now. Sadly, not much seems to have changed.